River News and Updates

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Happening Now: Updated October 3, 2017

Preliminary construction activities in the RAD continue. See below for the latest updates.


PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITIES

The long anticipated draft construction schedule will be ready to share with stakeholders on Friday, October 20th. We will use the Leadership Round Table meeting time for this meeting. Please join us to give feedback from 8:30AM to 10:00AM at 14 Riverside Drive.

Trees
In preparation for the construction of two miles of new (east bank) section of the French Broad River Greenway as part of the RADTIP project, the City’s contractors will be installing silt fence and removing trees in a section of the River Arts District starting 9/27/2017 and ending 10/17/2017. The City has a permit to remove approximately twelve small trees in the path of the greenway construction on property on the west side of Riverside Drive between the Smith (Craven Street) Bridge and Lyman Street.
 

 

Public outreach regarding tree removal began earlier this year, and included email notification to the RADTIP Construction Alerts list, and in person notification at several public meetings, including the Tree Commission. Over the course of three years of construction, the RADTIP plans include the removal of approximately five hundred trees. Over fifteen hundred trees (and thousands of new shrubs, grasses and forbs) will be planted before construction is complete.

 

In addition, the City of Asheville has funding through the Duke Water Resources Fund  to complete a riparian restoration plan that will recommend additional landscaping and tree planting projects to consider after RADTIP construction; these projects are intended to improve water quality, provide shade for people and habitat for wildlife, and help keep Asheville’s air clean.
 

 We are committed to consistently communicating with you on the work being done, changes to the schedule and any known traffic impacts. A construction and closures map is available here. You can also sign up for email notifications here.


OTHER TIGER VI PROJECTS

The RADTIP serves as the spine of a planned multimodal system that includes other projects which are construction ready: Livingston Street Complete Streets, and the Town Branch, French Broad River Greenway West and Bacoate Branch (formerly Clingman Forest) greenways. These projects were originally planned to be built in conjunction with the RADTIP as part of the TIGER VI (USDOT) grant-funded program of work. In order to keep the program within the existing budget, the construction of the other projects has been delayed until future funding is available. 

NEXT STEPS ON CONSTRUCTION

Tree and brush clearing along the riverfront is happening now in preparation for fall work. Join us on October 20th to give input on the draft construction schedule. 

 
DEMOLITION

 

Demolition is complete.

Demolition projects included the 12 Bones building, the concrete block addition to the west of Riverside Studios at Haywood and Riverside Drive and the Anders Tobacco warehouse at the corner of Craven Street and Riverside Drive (the red building) was demolished. An environmental stormwater feature will be developed in it's place. 

UTILITY RELOCATION

 

 PSNC Energy continues utility relocation work and will be working on the north end of the RADTIP project area and work will continue. Details can be found on the Construction and Closures map.

 
CONSTRUCTION FOR OTHER RIVERFRONT PROJECTS

NC Wildlife Resources Commission has completed the new river access (steps) at Jean Webb Park. This includes new ADA-accessible parking spaces. Their crews also completed the boat ramp at the southeast corner of the Smith Bridge (Craven Street Bridge) and Riverside Dr. (aka the free wood lot). Construction on this project is complete. Signage and waste planning are next steps.  
  
14 Riverside Drive renovation is complete and public restrooms are open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. Wayfinding signage to help locals and visitors navigate the district will be installed in the fall. 

TEMPORARY WAYFINDING IN THE DISTRICT

The City contracted with a local designer to produce graphics that can be used to help communicate River Arts District and City project information during construction (2017-2020). After gaining input from community stakeholders, the consultant has completed the designs.

Temporary gateway signage will be installed this fall with additional  intradistrict signage to be developed with the River Arts District Artists and RAD Business Association. 

We anticipate having these initial business kit resources ready before construction begins in fall 2017. Additional signage support to help keep the district vibrant during construction is also in the works.

Reminders

CAMPING AND HOMELESS POPULATIONS
Due to construction activities in the area camping is no longer safe. There are several emergency shelter and support services to assist anyone camping in the area affected by displacement. City Resource Officers are currently providing this information to campers in the area. All of the resources available are listed on the Resources tab. If you see someone camping in the area please contact Asheville Police Department at (828) 252-1110. If you need information on additional community services, contact 211.
 
TREE REMOVAL AND FREE WOOD
This winter, the City of Asheville worked closely with project area contractors to minimize tree removal in affected areas.
  
Additional tree removal will occur in the next phase of the project. The City is working closely with all partners to minimize erosion and maintain healthy riverbanks during this process, and will install new landscaping and storm water management gardens and devices as part of construction. Additionally, the City has been awarded the Duke Water Resources grant to work with several not-for-profits and interested citizens on a riparian restoration plan that will be implemented after construction is complete.


TRANSPORTATION, ACCESS AND PARKING
Parking on City property has been significantly reduced due to preconstruction activities, and will continue to be limited throughout the construction process. Please help keep bikers safe by not parking in designated bike lanes. Expect delays from road and lane closures during this time. You can view a preconstruction parking and river access map and a road closure map.
 
MORE INFORMATION
If you have specific questions about how this project impacts you, your business or your property please contact us. You can reach Stephanie Monson Dahl at the Riverfront Office at (828) 232-4502.


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Background

This project will construct a 2.2 mile piece of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway, a planned 17- mile multi-modal corridor in Asheville along the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. In addition to improved intersections and bridge reconstruction, the project includes roadway improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, greenways, on-street parking, and stormwater improvements along Lyman Street and Riverside Drive adjacent to the French Broad River. The project will improve the horizontal and vertical clearance at the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge, accommodate truck turning movements at the intersection of Craven street and Riverside Drive and improve three railroad crossings in the area.
The estimated cost for purchasing right of way and construction is $37 million. In April 2014, the City submitted an application to Federal Highway Administration to fund six interconnected transportation projects through the TIGER VI Program. In November 2014, the US Secretary of Transportation visited Asheville to announce that Asheville was awarded a 14.6 million dollar federal award to support the development of:

  • RADTIP (including Five Points Roundabout)
  • Greenways: Bacoate Branch (formerly Clingman Forest), Town Branch and French Broad River West (Construction postponed) 
  • Livingston Street Complete Street (Construction postponed) 

Timeline

Summer 2016: Preconstruction activities begin. Tree clearing occurs in preparation for Duke Energy and other utility relocation.

Winter 2016: Installation of new Jean Webb river access point and Smith Bridge boat launch in partnership with NC Wildlife Resource Commission. Renovation of 14 Riverside Drive. Utility relocation efforts continue.

Fall 2017: Construction is scheduled to begin on RADTIP  and will continue through 2020.

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